A list of mythological creatures in the Philippines.
“He is as tall as the tree beside which he stands…

His skin is rough, dark, and hairy…

He appears under a new moon and a soft shower.

He smokes a big cigar that doesn’t grow shorter.”

- “The Creatures of Midnight” 
by Maximo D. Ramos and Dani Reyes 

The kapre is a tree demon from the folklore of the Philippines. A hairy, bearded man-like creature, about 7-10 fee (2-3 meters) tall, The kapre likes tobacco and is generally smoking a pipe or a long cigar.

Kapres dwell in large trees, such as the acacia or banyan. They are wild creatures and wear only a loincloth and a magical belt, which makes them invisible to humans. Kapres are fond of tricks and can confuse travelers so that they become lost in the mountains or woods. In addition to the smell of tobacco or smoke coming from the top of a tree, other signs that a kapre is nearby include rustling tree branches when the wind is still, loud laughter or a disembodied voice in the woods or an abundance of fireflies. (Rosen 2009, p. 220)


Brenda Rosen (2009). The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.

Maximo D. Ramos and Dani Reyes (1990). The Creatures of Midnight. Philippines: Phoenix Publishing House.

See Encounters with Kapre

Manananggal, sometimes referred to as Tik-tik, is one of the most famous mythological creatures in the Philippines. The word "manananggal" literally means "one who detaches." It can detach its upper body from its lower body after undergoing a gruesome transformation. At day light, it takes the form of a very beautiful woman, an effective way to spy for naïve victims and luring them to devour. When night falls, it retreats to a hiding spot to and begins its ritual and transform into a hideous, vampire-like hunter preying on humans.

The ritual starts with anointing its human body with a special type of oil. Slowly, its body grows a pair of enormous bat-like wings, very sharp teeth and a dreadfully long sharp tongue. In the process, it produces this very tiny shrieking sound repeatedly. Then it separates itself from its lower body and flies to the air to begin hunting for its prey, leaving its legs and the bottom half of its torso on the ground.

The manananggal flies around the quiet sky looking for babies most specially for fetuses inside mothers’ wombs. As to the case of human adults, it enjoys devouring human organs and entrails. When the manananggal spots the house of its victim, it waits patiently on the rooftop until the mother is fast asleep. When everyone if already sleeping, it makes a small hole from the roof and slowly lowers its tongue to touch the womb. Its tongue is said to be hollow, fine, and sharp like that of a needle. It uses its tongue to suck out fetuses, organs, and entrails from its victims.

It is believed that Manananggals are always accompanied by a bird called tiktik. The tik tik heralds the approach of a manananggal. It produces the sound “tik-tik” or “ik-ik-ik” while flying. Folklore dictates that the fainter the sound, the nearer the manananggal is. This is a way to confuse their victims. On the other hand, black cats and crows signal a tik-tik's presence.  The aftermath of a tik-tik or manananggal attacks are deformed faces or bodies.  

The manananggals are believed to greatly detest salt, ash, garlic and holy water. They also fear daggers, vinegar, onions and spices. The only way to destroy a Manananggal is to prevent it from reuniting with its lower torso until sunrise arrives.

The origin of manananggal varies. One account says that a chick is living inside the manananggal, which must be passed on from one person--usually a relative on their deathbed- to another. This chick is said to be living in the pit of the creature's stomach. The manananggal usually starts out human, but the chick devours the person's own entrails while keeping them alive. Because of this, the person then begins to crave for human flesh, and eventually transforms into these hideous man-eating creatures. Another way involves a ritual involving a special chant, oil, and an egg of a black chicken. The future manananggal should rub the oil from the ritual onto their bodies while reciting the chant. Finally, they must keep the egg in their armpit until it disappears.

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